“Then those who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: “Hosanna! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” Mark 11:9-10 NKJV
Today is Friday of Passion Week – Good Friday. Tonight, Passover also begins. And today in our reading we begin Passion Week and Passover in the Gospel story. It is all merging together for us.
Good Friday – today is the day of Passion Week that Jesus was tried, and found guiltless yet he was beaten and hung on a cross. Today is the day we remember He sacrificed Himself – as he was more than capable to have saved Himself. Today we recognize that Atonement Law is completed and finished – so that we may accept Jesus’s sacrifice in exchange for our forgiveness and the washing clean of our spirit from sins. And today we recall that His death, shook heaven and hell – and grace began a 3 day work to fight for victory over death and sin on our behalf.
Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.
Do you want to know truth? Be able to discern lies? Know how to figure it all out in these confusing times and have peace? The Bible says Jesus is the truth. I have experienced it and it has changed my life. I was once a hot mess of sin, promiscuity, drug and alcohol use and so much more. But I was lost and when I could not find my way, or find a truth, I numbed it with bad choses. When I found Jesus, and truth – I found peace and deliverance from those things.
If you want a relationship with God without truth you will get the counterfeit, hypocritical Christianity that has kept some of you away for too long. You need truth and relationship. You need to be honest with yourself and God (including honest repentance) and God will reveal truth to you. It becomes the two way, interaction that your relationship with God is built on. This is why Jesus is called the truth, because he is our only way to the Father.
“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen
Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen
Today’s reading is the Book of Mark chapter 11 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV).
The Triumphal Entry
11 Now when they drew near Jerusalem, to [a]Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, He sent two of His disciples; 2 and He said to them, “Go into the village opposite you; and as soon as you have entered it you will find a colt tied, on which no one has sat. Loose it and bring it. 3 And if anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord has need of it,’ and immediately he will send it here.”
4 So they went their way, and found [b]the colt tied by the door outside on the street, and they loosed it. 5 But some of those who stood there said to them, “What are you doing, loosing the colt?”
6 And they spoke to them just as Jesus had commanded. So they let them go. 7 Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their clothes on it, and He sat on it. 8 And many spread their clothes on the road, and others cut down leafy branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 Then those who went before and those who followed cried out, saying:
‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’
10 Blessed is the kingdom of our father David
That comes [c]in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest!”
11 And Jesus went into Jerusalem and into the temple. So when He had looked around at all things, as the hour was already late, He went out to Bethany with the twelve.
The Fig Tree Withered
12 Now the next day, when they had come out from Bethany, He was hungry. 13 And seeing from afar a fig tree having leaves, He went to see if perhaps He would find something on it. When He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. 14 In response Jesus said to it, “Let no one eat fruit from you ever again.”
And His disciples heard it.
Jesus Cleanses the Temple
15 So they came to Jerusalem. Then Jesus went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. 16 And He would not allow anyone to carry wares through the temple. 17 Then He taught, saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’ ”
18 And the scribes and chief priests heard it and sought how they might destroy Him; for they feared Him, because all the people were astonished at His teaching. 19 When evening had come, He went out of the city.
The Lesson of the Withered Fig Tree
20 Now in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. 21 And Peter, remembering, said to Him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree which You cursed has withered away.”
22 So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God. 23 For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. 24 Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.
Forgiveness and Prayer
25 “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. 26 [d]But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.”
Jesus’ Authority Questioned
27 Then they came again to Jerusalem. And as He was walking in the temple, the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders came to Him. 28 And they said to Him, “By what authority are You doing these things? And who gave You this authority to do these things?”
29 But Jesus answered and said to them, “I also will ask you one question; then answer Me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things: 30 The baptism of John—was it from heaven or from men? Answer Me.”
31 And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ 32 But if we say, ‘From men’ ”—they feared the people, for all counted John to have been a prophet indeed. 33 So they answered and said to Jesus, “We do not know.”
And Jesus answered and said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”
- Mark 11:1 M Bethsphage
- Mark 11:4 NU, M a
- Mark 11:10 NU omits in the name of the Lord
- Mark 11:26 NU omits v. 26.
MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:
Isaiah 41:10- “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”
As real life time frame and our reading begin to merge and we are in a time of remember these things – and we look around at the swift destruction around us. I pray the Lord make it all very real from His perspective – that we can see things the way Jesus sees things as well as seeing people the way Jesus Sees people.
Before sunset – I will hang a red curtain, draped over my front door with spring flowers. I will take communion and sweep the dirt out of my entry way and off the front stoop while praying the Lord’s Prayer. It is a tradition I created for myself, because the resurrection is birthed in the Passover and I personally need to do something. When I read it, it feel like I did not reverence it enough, I feel helpless and want to do something, and I feel overwhelmed by the thousands of years God put into a plan to save little old me – and you – and you – and you. (Yes, all of us!) God does not wish for us to create traditions and lose the word – but God also gave us traditions and told the Jews to keep the Passover as a reverent reminder of who He is and what He has done. So, for me, I hang the red curtain and pray – publicly accepting the blood of the sacrificial lamb (Jesus Christ) over my coming and going, over my life, over my house, and over my all – which I in turn have surrendered as my first fruits to Him. I am sure reading it, praying and meditating on it, is enough. But I am too studious and that is too academic, I feel. I need to do more to make it personal and not just another round of study on my favorite (and least favorite – as I cringe at what my Lord suffered) passages.
Today specifically and during God’s proclaimed Holy time of Passover – please take the time to get humble before Him and honor this long plan – from plagues on the earth to plagues on the earth, from death of the first born and destruction to the death of our Lord, to the death and destruction on our current planet. A holy time of repentance and humility would do us all some good.
But Today’s reading begins with Our Victor – Our Savior – Our King making a triumphal entry on an unbroken donkey colt. A miracle that animal let Him ride. Especially with people dancing, shouting and singing and throwing things for that poor animal to walk on. And not on a war horse as people expected and not as a Warrior King in the physical as people hoped for. And in gentle humble love opposed to powerfully proud and vengeful.
These same people who recognized Him for His miracles and worshiped him regardless of if His parade was valiant of not – had no depth of understanding and watched (and possibly participated) in the “Crucify Him” chant that led to my King’s death. We know he came back to life – so in many ways (being this far removed) we forget He died. I have even heard a sermon recently where the preacher erroneously said “He survived” because he came back and was alive again. He did not survive. He died. This is important. Because if he survived, then he did not overcome death.
Did you ever notice verse 11?
“And Jesus went into Jerusalem and into the temple. So when He had looked around at all things, as the hour was already late, He went out to Bethany with the twelve.”
Jesus went to the temple and looked around. I think this verse gives so much more understanding to the coming events.
Jesus, with the corrupted state of His Father’s House – of His house – fresh in His mind… must have gone to bed thinking and discussing it with the Father. The Father already knew – but Jesus was still fully man and had he fully known just how bad it was until then? Maybe God told Him and He needed to see it for Himself. Jesus had 8 to 12 hours to process this corruption He saw.
Then in the morning, hungry, and still angry at what he saw – it makes me understand a little more why Jesus cursed the fig tree.
It was not the season for fruit – it was not told to produce fruit because the creator was coming – and it was fruitless. Well, Just in case no one ever tells you (and I can back it up with a bunch of Bible verses if you need me to but these discussions are already long) you and I MUST produce fruit, in and out of season. Jesus is a fruit inspector. In revelations the judgements upon the churches are based on the fruits they produced. AND if you read the Bible you know the Creator IS coming! The brides are warned to have enough oil in their lamps, bring extra if need be. In other words – produce fruit for the Creator to use whenever He has need of you. Produce fruit because He may return at any moment and if you are laden with sin, complacency and the laziness of ‘tomorrow I can get my life together and surrender to God’, you may be in for a shock about your fate! He is the vinedresser – He is looking for fruit. And the fruitless was cursed.
Jesus marches onward. I can picture him walking fast. The disciples must have thought He was just very hungry and had breakfast arranged for them somewhere – he did. It was supposed to be at the fig tree. Now, they have NO breakfast and Jesus seemingly charges to the temple.
Let’s look for a moment at some of the speculation I have heard about the passage of Jesus cleaning the Temple – just for fun.
One – that this was out of Jesus’s character. Well, we have a large about of writing about His works and character. We do not know however, that this is out of his character and NONE of the people writing about it even hinted that it was.
Two – that the disciples must have been shocked and maybe even thought He had lost His mind. I think if they were shocked, stood back or even ran away it would have been included in one of the gospels – and most probably in the Gospel of Mark, as He did not ever sugar coat it and made his friends (the 12 disciple) look like bumbling idiot in a more ‘matter of fact’ way than any of the other gospel accounts, which all soften it.
Three – that they participated. This one is interesting because we saw early on in the gospel of Mark that Jesus empowered the disciples and they participated in healing and casting out demons, although never directly mentioned again. We get the impression that these men just stood around poorly managing a crowd as Jesus did it all – But that is not what we read, once. So, it is actually possible that they (especially, those Sons of Thunder) participated. This would also explain why Jesus wasn’t arrested for this – as if Jesus was alone, a group could have tackled Him.
Four – that the disciples we off getting breakfast and missed the whole thing. But again, where is the proof?
If you’d like to compare: Matthew 21:12-17, Luke 19:45-47, and John 2:14-16. Notable differences: In Matthew, Jesus begins healing and teaching after he turned everything upside down. In Luke, Jesus also taught and continued to do so daily. None of the version say he had a whip (as I have seen in illustrations). None of the version depict him as a while man losing control in righteous indignation.
Yes – he was righteous and angry – He also had 8 to 12 hours of prayerful rest before He entered this scene. He may have also been weak with hunger. Our God is a God of order – even His wrath and correction is in order. I do not, therefore think Jesus lost his cool and became a mad man.
And they didn’t arrest him for doing so. He even stayed and taught until evening, when He left and went back to camp for the night.
This is a dynamic and important action – to clean the temple. It was also a fulfillment of scriptures. So let us be careful NOT to muddy it with additional elements and speculation. We have 4 accounts. What they say is what happened. Period.
The next day (Monday of Passion Week) they woke up and passed that withered fig tree on their way to the city. Yesterday, the disciples learned to produce fruit in and out of season or you are worthless and today they see it withered and dead. Of course they ask – and that day’s lesson is not focused on the death or the fruitlessness. It is focused on the fruit they will produce – Faith.
I look over the notes in my Bible from multiple sermons – one preacher focused on saying out loud, like that was the key. Another focused on a mountain and moving the mountains in our lives. Another equated it to healing. And I know these people were all well intended. Let’s look at it in context and without speculation.
This passage in not about speaking – speaking was a customary way for them. They never read quietly in their heads – they only read out loud. They did not pray quietly in their heads they prayed out loud. They even thought out loud most of the time. These are not a quiet people as we have become. So of course speak to it. That is understood and hardly the point. Now we speak in our minds – is that wrong? I cannot say but it is our culture. I strongly encourage listening to the Bible on audio, it just hits differently, I think. I also strong encourage reading out loud, again, we process differently that way. ALSO – I love and encourage praying out loud; might as well let the devil know why the earth around you is quaking! But this is not a passage about speech. I starts with a fruitless tree, moves to a dead tree and speaking out loud is just part of the process – if Jesus did not curse it so that the disciple could have heard – then no one would know to glorify God about the dead tree the next day.
The passage is about producing or not producing fruit. The mountain, is what stands in the way of you producing fruit – it is not a trial (which God gives us to improve us – can’t move that away, we need that). The mountain is not an attack (mountain just stand tall, mountains do not attack). The mountain is not sickness, disease or demonic possession or oppression – because the disciples already knew how to deal with them. I cannot tell you how many trials I called mountains and demanded they move and they didn’t. Or how many people claim their sickness is a mountain – and I ask if I can lay hands on them and pray it away and they say no, I am telling that mountain to move. Um, what mountain? I do not see a mountain.
We can cross reference the mustard seed faith that moves mountains – and we see, if is about the fruit! The mustard seed produces fruit – Faith is a fruit! Jesus is building their faith as they begin Passion Week. The message here is: You all need more faith or you will be worthless and not survive what we are all in for this week!
The lesson here is produce more faith! And do it quickly. Imagine if these disciples thought the cross was their mountain – and disrupted the Hoy work of God. Imagine if the actual mountain (hill) Jesus’s cross stood on was thought of as their mountain?! But no – they understood Jesus was focused on the production of fruit and was producing faith in His disciples.
Faith is not the only fruit – He instilled prayer here as well. My Bible splits these verses up, But I want you to read them together:
“For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.” Verses 23-26
Literally when pressed together like this – repentant, humble hearts full of love and forgiveness, and in prayer, produces fruit powerful enough to move the earth. It’s not about the mountain or the sea – it is about humility, repentance, forgiveness and love – it is about faith and grace and mercy. It is about doing the will of the Father – it is about having a fruitful life as a believer. Then the anointed power of God will move through you are you are a willing and fruitful vessel and will move to empower others to produce fruit.
Jesus produced MUCH fruit. It is kind of what He is famous for. He fruit healed and cast out and saved and freed… those are not fruits, those are the full bellies from eating the fruits. Jesus just wants us to be like Him – Do what He did – feed his sheep. The banquet table is prepared – we bring the fruit.
It is unclear if Jesus was questioned on Monday of Passion Week or another day – as He taught at the temple every day. But Jesus was questioned by the chief priests and scribes. Again – their questions were meant as a trap. And Jesus was wise to it.
You and I know and take it for granted – Jesus taught by the authority given to him by the Father and He in turn granted us the amount and measure we can have. But these concepts were new to the world at that time and they did not believe Jesus was the son of God.
So Jesus asks them a question that is equally a trap for them. Now, you and I should be careful – if and when we attempt this strategy, we may cross a fine line into manipulation – and that is evil. We do not want that. Jesus knew the outcome of this line of questioning and knew every possible outcome. He was not manipulating, he was shutting it down in a display of that very authority in which they questioned Him of.
Verse 32 says they feared the people. And I did want to address this as well. Fear of the people is a bad thing when you believe in God. You should fear God and not man. These priests, scribes and elders did not fear God – only man. Jesus feared God and not man. It works out in the favor of the ones who fear God and not man. This is a tried and true principle. So when we look at our evil world leaders – their fear of man will be their destruction. I pray they turn their hearts to God, for their sake and that they are quickly destroyed by their fear of man for our sakes.
And finally – Authority and fear of man. We should not fear man, but we do need to submit to the Godly Authority over us. To simplify it: God places a church over us as the first layer, we should submit to the pastor. Do not submit to a pastor who submits to man – but one who has a checks and balances system in place so that He will not veer off course. Submit to a pastor who has a church with a 5 fold ministry. Submit to a pastor who do not compromise on what the word says. Submit to an orderly pastor who does not let disorder disrupt. If your pastor is not right with the Lords, you must leave. Submit where God has you to submit. Next the husband or Father is the next covering. With the wife / mother’s support (his checks and balances to keep him from veering off course). That is the simplest description of authority from man. And in all that it should always line up with scriptures. And you should not fear your manly authority, but respect it and fear God – only.
This weekend finish the book of Proverbs and begin the book of Psalms as our weekend wisdom reading. There is no discussion on weekend readings and I hope you mediate on it and get it into your hearts. On Monday we will continue our discussion of the Book of Mark and begin reading about Passion Week.
Have a blessed Resurrection Weekend!
Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!